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Stairwell Teatro 2023 Ep. 09 Lakisha, Jamal & Dee


I love research studies, especially those examining bias and discrimination. This episode references the 2003 National Bureau of Economic Research study titled Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? This study sent out 5,000 identical resumes concerning education and experience for jobs advertised in the Boston and Chicago areas. The only difference in the resumes was the names of the applicants. Applicants with Black-sounding names were less likely to be invited to interview for jobs than applicants with White-sounding names. Read the study here.


As I mentioned in this Stairwell Episode, these studies have also been done in other countries, reaching the same conclusion. Applicants are perceived as “more qualified” or are of greater interest to employers if their names suggest they are members of the dominant (ruling) group in that country.


Name discrimination expands well beyond the employment arena. It could deny access to an apartment or home, or it may keep your child from being admitted into a preschool, as was reported in this article for Wired (UK), where British parents with Muslim-identified names were told there was no space in a preschool, but persons with White-sounding names who inquired about openings were offered spaces.

The Wired (UK) article also references the GEMM Study (GEMM stands for Growth, Equal Opportunities, Migration, and Markets), which is a comparative analysis of hiring discrimination across 53 ethnic groups in five European countries: Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Norway, and the Netherlands. The data analyzes cultural differences, religion, phenotype, and soft and hard skills of job applicants. Read the GEMM study here. The results are consistent with studies from the United States, and the GEMM Study found that ethnic minorities needed to send 60 percent more applications to get as many callbacks as the white majority.


Countries with a longer history of immigration from former colonies seemed to have higher rates of discrimination, according to this study. British employers were the most discriminatory compared to Norway, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands. “We were a bit surprised by that,” says Valentina di Stasio, an assistant professor at Utrecht University who worked on the research. “In Britain (name discrimination) is very high by international standards.” And if this topic interests you, and you share my nerdy tendencies, here is another interesting article here.


Heading to Phoenix in December


Know someone in the Phoenix area? Maybe you even live there yourself. If so, I hope to see you on December 10th when I perform my final live show this year at Arizona State University’s Kerr Cultural Center in Scottsdale, AZ. Spread the word to friends or family in the Phoenix area. I promise you the best show I’ve got. Click here for tickets.



You can watch the previous eight episodes of my Stairwell Teatro in under 30 minutes since individual stories are typically around two minutes. Click here for the playlist.











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